By David Hazledine
MILFORD — Milford Town Council concluded its public meeting Monday, July 13, with a discussion of the feasibility of a bike path running from the town to Waubee Lake Park. However, it could be many years before such a path becomes a reality.
During clerk reports, Town Clerk/Treasurer Tricia Gall informed the council she broached the subject with USI Consultants, the company assessing Milford’s roads for asset management purposes. USI’s informal estimate was $10-12,000 for a study of three different routes from town to park; however, the cost for just one path would be cheaper, she said.
The path Gall deemed “most logical” and “least intrusive” starts at First Street and runs along the east side of the railroad tracks and Bear Creek to Camp Mack Road. Streets Superintendent Steven Marquart added this route is also the most “scenic” and primarily utilizes land unfit for agricultural or other purposes. Council member Ken Long observed it also has “lesser impact on property owners.”
A feasibility study would assist with grants to help pay for the path in the future, said Gall, though she added most federal grants are already “out to 2026.” Nevertheless, the council agreed Gall should acquire a quote for the study.
The remainder of the meeting was spent on decidedly firmer ground, with the council passing three new ordinances.
Ordinance 2020-1, a holdover from before the COVID-19 pandemic, establishes a capitalization policy for the town and requires assets more than $10,000 be reported on a statement for the Indiana State Board of Accounts, along with any improvements of more than $5,000.
Ordinance 2020-4 sets up a fund entitled to receive funds from the CARES Act Covid Relief Fund and make related expenditures.
Ordinance 2020-5 creates another fund entitled to receive funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has “more narrow guidelines,” according to Gall, and will be used primarily for personal protection supplies.
The council also passed a number of actions it hopes will be paid for by the relief fund. A total of $1,773.10 was approved for a 65-inch television from MicroByte Enterprise for the town hall meeting room to be used for virtual meetings and training.
Another $3,209 was approved to upgrade town hall phones to a wireless voice over internet protocol system. The wireless phones may be used by multiple departments in different locations for emergency meetings and conference calls as well as everyday use, said Gall.
Gall also reported the quote for town employee insurance came in at a 13% increase over 2020, better than the expected 20%. The council will seek further quotes for the August meeting.
During police reports, Chief Derek Kreider recommended the hiring of a new reserve officer, Dallas Rice. According to Kreider, Rice has completed examinations, 40 hours of training and has been riding with full-time officers since “late last year.” The council agreed to hire Rice.
Kreider also encouraged Milford residents to report crime to police, explaining that all too often, his department does not hear about problems until weeks later. “They need to give us a call and let us know,” he commented. “We hear, ‘we didn’t want to bother you…’ It’s our job.”
Town Attorney Jay Rigdon informed the council he would be coordinating depositions of town employees in connection with a personal injury suit taking place in South Bend.
Rigdon also sought council approval for Milford to be added to the list of municipalities seeking compensation from Purdue Pharma as part of a bankruptcy formula stemming from the impact of oxycontin addiction during the course of 17 years. Though the town will likely not receive the maximum $400,000 amount, Ridgon explained the town’s windfall is “potentially significant” and there was “absolutely no downside” to joining the action. The council agreed.
During streets and parks reports, Marquart requested and received $1,535 for the upkeep of the town’s 2020 pickup truck. Ziebart Warsaw will provide rust protection, seat covers, floor mats and a cab step.
A sum of $2,025 was also approved for chemical feed maintenance in the wellhouse to be performed by Living Waters and including rebuilt chemical pumps and injection pumps, new feed lines and chlorine gas sensors.
During wastewater reports, Mark Brubaker presented a maintenance list, none of which required immediate action by the council. Brubaker reported a small oil leak in a clarifier and root balls infiltrating a line on Main Street near the fire station. The root balls were discovered during camera work by R and R Visual, and Brubaker suggested finding more such problems to maximize future cost savings.
Additionally, some hydrants also need attention and an airline at the wastewater plant will need to be dug up, said Brubaker.